New York

Businesses Ordered to Reduce 100% “In-Person” Staffing

Businesses in New York, unless exempted, must reduce their “in-person” workforce by 100% through April 19. The order is here. Guidance on businesses that have exemptions fr4om this order is available here.

Stay at Home Order

Persons living in New York State have been ordered to “stay at home.” More information is available here.

Attorney General Guidance Regarding Garnishment of Stimulus Checks

On April 17, 2020, Attorney General Letitia James issued guidance “to make clear that emergency stimulus payments authorized by the CARES Act are exempt from garnishment under New York law, any creditor or debt collector that garnishes such payments has violated New York and federal law, and our office will aggressively prosecute such violations.”

Prohibitions on Evictions, Foreclosures, Insurance Premiums

“There shall be no enforcement of either an eviction of any tenant residential or commercial, or a foreclosure of any residential or commercial property for a period of ninety days” from March 20, 2020. The order is available here.

On March 30 the New York Department of Financial Services prohibited regulated insurance companies from referrals to a debt collection agency in the event of missed premium payments or missed installment payments to a premium finance company. A copy of the amended regulation is available here.

Tolling

On March 20, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tolled the statute of limitations for “any legal action, notice, motion or other process” from March 20, 2020 to April 19, 2020. Executive Order 202.8 is available here.

Guidance for Regulated Financial Institutions

The New York Department of Financial Services has issued numerous memoranda to regulated financial institutions. The guidance is available here. In the context of debt collection, on March 19, in a letter to industry it urged regulated entities to undertake measures to assist consumers and small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Among the suggested steps were:

  • Offering payment accommodations, such as allowing loan customers to defer payments at no cost, extending the payment due dates or otherwise adjusting or altering terms of existing loans, which would avoid delinquencies, triggering events of default or similar adverse consequences, and negative credit agency reporting caused by COVID-19 related disruptions; and,
  • Proactively reaching out to customers via app announcements, text, email or otherwise to explain the above-listed assistance being offered to customers.

NY State Courts Prohibits New Filings Except in Specified Matters

On March 22, the New York State Administrative Office of the Courts prohibited county clerks or the courts from accepting for filing “papers . . . in any matter” except the following:

Criminal matters

  1. – arraignments
  2. – bail applications, reviews and writs
  3. – temporary orders of protection
  4. – resentencing of retained and incarcerated defendants
  5. – essential sex offender registration act (SORA) matters

Family Court

  1. – child protection intake cases involving removal applications
  2. – newly filed juvenile delinquency intake cases involving remand placement applications, or modification thereof
  3. – emergency family offense petitions/temporary orders of protection
  4. – orders to show cause
  5. – stipulations on submission

Supreme Court

  1. – Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) applications and hearings addressing patient retention or release
  2. – MHL hearings addressing the involuntary administration of medication and other medical care
  3. – newly filed MHL applications for an assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) plan
  4. – emergency applications in guardianship matters
  5. – temporary orders of protection (including but not limited to matters involving domestic violence)
  6. – emergency applications related to the coronavirus
  7. – emergency Election Law applications
  8. – extreme risk protection orders (ERPO)

Civil/Housing matters

  1. – applications addressing landlord lockouts (including reductions in essential services)
  2. – applications addressing serious code violations
  3. – applications addressing serious repair orders
  4. – applications for post-eviction relief

All Courts

  1. – any other matter that the court deems essential

The order was immediately effective and will remain effective until further order. It applies to both paper and electronic fillings. A copy of the order is available here.